“Police raided the house of an editor for Gizmodo on Friday and seized computers and other equipment. The raid was part of an investigation into the leak of a prototype iPhone that the site obtained for a blockbuster story last week,” Kim Zetter reports for Wired. “Now, a legal expert has raised questions about the legality of the warrant used in the raid.”
“Jennifer Granick, civil liberties director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said Chen is protected from a warrant by both state and federal laws,” Zetter reports. “The federal Privacy Protection Act prohibits the government from seizing materials from journalists and others who possess material for the purpose of communicating to the public. The government cannot seize material from the journalist even if it’s investigating whether the person who possesses the material committed a crime.”
“Instead, investigators need to obtain a subpoena, which would allow the reporter or media outlet to challenge the request and segregate information that is not relevant to the investigation,” Zetter reports. “‘Congress was contemplating a situation where someone might claim that the journalist was committing a crime [in order to seize materials from them],’ Granick says. California state law also provides protections to prevent journalists from being forced to disclose sources or unpublished information related to their work. ‘California law is crystal clear that bloggers are journalists, too,’ she says.”
Zetter reports, “Apple is on the steering committee for the REACT task force that raided Chen’s house. Formed in 1997, REACT is a partnership of 17 local, state and federal agencies tasked with investigating computer- and internet-related crimes.”
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